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01/23/2009 Archived Entry: "Wedding anniversaries"
Someone recently asked me about the traditional names of wedding anniversaries in the UK and as my wife and I recently celebrated our golden wedding, Iíve done a bit of research.
Most of us know that a diamond wedding anniversary marks not only 60 years of marriage but also 75 years, whilst a ruby wedding is 40 years, a pearl is 30 and a silver is 25.
The reason for giving them names is perhaps an indicator of the type of gifts one might offer at each major anniversary and, not surprisingly, the British system differs from the American but only very slightly. There is also a modern British version that may be of interest. It seems the reason for the sixtieth anniversary being called diamond arises because originally that designation referred to a seventy-fifth anniversary. However, when Queen Victoria celebrated her sixtieth year on the throne, she described it as her "Diamond Jubilee" and so the name has since been used for other sixtieth anniversaries.
However, this is the traditional British list: first cotton; second paper; third leather; fourth fruit or flowers; fifth wood; sixth iron or sugar candy; seventh wool or copper; eighth bronze or pottery; ninth pottery or willow; tenth tin; eleventh steel; twelfth silk or linen; thirteenth lace; fourteenth ivory; fifteenth crystal; twentieth china; twenty-fifth silver; thirtieth pearl; thirty-fifth coral; fortieth ruby; forty-fifth sapphire; fiftieth gold; fifty-fifth emerald; sixtieth diamond; seventieth platinum and seventy-fifth diamond.
The modernised version is as follows: first clocks; second china; third crystal; fourth appliances; fifth silverware; sixth wood; seventh desk items; eighth lace or linen; ninth leather; tenth diamond; eleventh jewellery; twelfth pearls; thirteenth textiles or furs; fourteenth gold; fifteenth watches; twentieth platinum; twenty-fifth sterling silver; thirtieth diamond; thirty-fifth jade; fortieth ruby; forty-fifth sapphire; fiftieth gold; fifty-fifth emerald; sixtieth diamond, seventieth platinum and seventy-fifth diamond.
The American version is very similar to ours, albeit with a few differences among the earlier anniversaries. For example, the first is paper, the second cotton, the third leather, the fourth linen or silk and those following from that point match ours except for the tenth where both tin and aluminium are noted.
One can receive a message of congratulations from the Queen for a 60th, 65th, 70th or any anniversary after that. How does she remember them all? Well, actually you have to write to Bucking Palace and tell them.
In the United States, one can receive a greeting from the President for a 50th wedding anniversary, or any other anniversary after that, and Roman Catholics may apply for a Papal blessing for special wedding anniversaries such as 25th, 50th, 60th, etc.